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Inquiry First.

The projects from around the world that made it into this year's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair are outstanding examples of student innovation. Through its SciArt Series, Intel added a dimension to the students' scientific breakthroughs by inviting artists to represent them through original pieces of art. Take a look at the beauty that Intel discovered at the intersection of art and science.
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Last weekend's Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair owes its success in no small part to UMass Medical School. Twenty-six faculty and staff from UMMS and UMass Memorial Medical Center spent a rainy Saturday at Worcester Technical High School serving in the crucial role as science fair judges.  With every competitor receiving judging from three professionals, the demand for judges is tremendous, and UMass Medical School's contribution to this year's State Middle School Science & Engineering Fair made a big difference.  "No other organization had more volunteers than ours,” said Sandra Mayrand, director of UMMS's Regional Science Resource Center. A big "thank you" from MSSEF to UMMS for this extraordinary and valuable effort!
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Thinking about applying to law school? An undergrad degree in a STEM subject is a selling point these days. While the typical law school applicant of a decade or so had a humanities background, today's recruit is more likely to have a grounding in the sciences.  Driven by the tremendous growth in technology, the trend in law school admissions is yet another sign of the rapidly increading importance of STEM in the job market of tomorrow.
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A fabulous Massachusetts State Middle School Science & Engineering Fair took place on Saturday, June 2nd at Worcester Technical High School.  Students in grades 6-8 from all over the state spent the rainy day making new friends and explaining their projects to the volunteer judges.

Two projects emerged as grand prize winners.  From Melican Middle School in Northborough, Yashaswini Makram entered the grand-prize winning, "Accelerometer Apps: Sizing Up Smart Phones to Measure Height and Distance."  Ethan Messier, a student at Swansea's New England Christian Academy, won the other grand prize with "Wave to the Future: The Utilization of Marine Waves Using Wave Buoys to Generate Electricity."  Congratulations to Yashaswini, Ethan, and the... Read More

Acton-Boxborough High School ranked #7 in U.S. News & World Report's list of best high schools for STEM -- the highest of any school in Massachusetts.

The school sent two projects to this year's Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair (held May 4 & 5 at MIT), both of which took first-place awards: Jacob Johnson's "Novel Mechanisms of Carcinogenesis in Malignant Breast Cancer" and Ruifan Pei's "Electrochemical Determination of Alkaline Phosphatase Activity."

Wayland High School followed close behind in the best high schools for STEM rankings, achieving a #10 spot in the report, with Lexington... Read More

Oliver Dodd of Needham High School and Rahi Punjabi of Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School are headed to the 2012 BIO International Convention BioGENEius Challenge! The talented science students won accolades for the projects they entered into the Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair in early May.

Rahi, a tenth-grader, took first-place honors at the state fair for his biology project, "The Role of Garlic in... Read More

Through new partnerships and a recently overhauled badge system, Girl Scouts of the USA is providing more opportunities than ever for participants' exposure to STEM fields. Given that far fewer girls than boys typically chose STEM-related occupations, the opportunities newly offered by the Girl Scouts could prove valuable.
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A blog post this morning by Change the Equation offers a concise assessment of the recently released government report, "The Condition of Education." The good news, according to Change the Equation, is that the past two decades have seen rises in 4th and 8th grade math scores.  On the flip side, 12th graders haven't fared as positively, with numbers relatively stagnant over the same time period, causing concerns over "evaporating gains" between 8th and 12th grades.  The "no news" referred to in the post's title?  Information on where 12th graders stand in science.  Due to the change in science frameworks, looking at data over time would be meaningless.  Change the Equation makes the point that no news is actually harmful: "If we're serious about getting many more students ready... Read More

Forty-seven small U.S. colleges and universities have been chosen by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to receive funding for the creation of collaborative, engaging undergraduate science classes.  “Collaboration is a vital activity that drives science forward,” said HHMI President Robert Tjian. “We believe that collaboration among institutions can have a similar catalytic effect on science education, and we look forward to seeing these schools work together to develop new science and teaching programs that inspire their students.”
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With the statistics pointing overwhelmingly to a dire need for STEM-trained students to graduate into the US workforce, the question remains: How do educators break down the barriers that can prevent some perfectly capable students from enrolling in STEM courses?  On the Citizen IBM blog, AP Computer Science teacher Seth Reichelson offers up some answers based on his own experience.  Among his suggestions: "[make] computer science more accessible and rewarding" by using mastery learning, and communicating directly with parents when a student gets a bad grade.  By building confidence and taking some common-sense approaches to communicating, "everybody wins," Reichelson says.
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